Two Planets – Off the leash
A couple weeks ago I posted some concept drawings for an alien species I have in my novel-in-progress. I thought I would share a little bit more of that universe tonight. I wrote a series of short character sketches where I threw the characters together in various situations. It helped me sketch out their history and relationships (and they were great fun to write).
This little scene happens in the future from the last one I posted, some serious things have happened since then and the characters are in different positions in their lives. Mick is forcibly retired from his position as Special Representative of Earth due to an incident which occurred a year or so ago. Chanu still visits him against both governments directives. This scene was only my second attempt at writing the universe so I was still feeling my way around. It was a little bit of fun.
Off the leash
A ‘Two Planets’ scribble for the word ‘strings’
15 Jul 2006
“James, I’d like you to meet Pi.”
Mick stared at the small blob of blue-green goo at Nu’s feet. About the size of a deflated basketball, but looking more like something cast from a jello mould, it left Mick unsure as to whether he should salute it and welcome it to Earth or attempt to feed it dog biscuits. “Pi?”
Nu’s mouth twisted into the half smirk Mick had learned to associate with humour. “Yes, my companion kupi.”
“Kupi?” Interstellar relations were getting nowhere fast.
“Dog? Man’s best friend?” He gestured at the blob. “Kupi. Isel’s best friend.”
“Oh.” Dog biscuits after all. “‘Kay. Pleased to meet you, Pi.”
The blue-green jello-blob wriggled at his words and Mick couldn’t help but crouch down and look a little closer. It was mostly opaque, but just under whatever it used for skin were tiny flecks of gold. Its blue-green colour wasn’t static either. It rippled in almost hypnotic waves of shade, not unlike the cuttlefish he’d encountered diving off the coast a few years back. He reached out a finger, fascinated, and when Nu didn’t say anything, gently touched the small creature.
Its reaction was immediate. Flinging itself at Mick, it grabbed hold of and clung to his chest like a giant, feral amoeba.
Mick yelped, stumbling backwards and clambering to his feet. “What the-? Nu?”
Nu was grinning that smirk again.
Mick narrowed his eyes, his gaze caught between the Isel and the blob attached to his shirt. “You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?”
“It appears Pi approves of you.”
“I’d hate to think what he’d do if he didn’t.” He eyed the creature warily. It showed no sign of letting go.
“It would eat your brain.”
Mick’s eyes widened and he shot a look at the Isel. But Nu was again smirking. He glared. “Do all the Isel have your sense of humour?”
“I can not reveal our military secrets, James, you know that.”
The glare didn’t stop, but any smart-assed comeback he might have conjured up was interrupted by the kupi.
It started purring. A faint vibration that warmed his ribcage.
And it began to move.
Before Mick had time to react, it slid its way up his shirt and onto his shoulder, engulfing one ear. Caught between being terrified to move and causing an interstellar incident, Mick froze and chose the former, only his eyes attempting to track the creepy creature. “So uh, other than my brains, what does he eat?”
“Pi doesn’t eat as we do. It absorbs the energy it needs from the sun.”
It took a moment for that comment to sink in. “He’s a plant?” He was straining his eyes trying to keep Pi in sight, but failing miserably. Did it really need to massage his ear?
“Not in the true Earth sense, but yes, it does use a similar mechanism for energy absorption.”
“So, uh, what about nutrients? He can’t survive on energy alone, can he?”
Nu moved closer and reached out a long fingered hand to the kupi on Mick’s shoulder. Mick could just see it reach out a pseudopod in return from the corner of his eye. “No, it can not. It absorbs some nutrient from the air and the environment around it.”
“So he does eat.”
“No, it acquires the necessary base elements by disassembling complex molecules outside its body and then absorbing them. There is no consumption and digestion as you and I experience it.”
He thought about it a moment, but despite the physical differences, the process seemed the same to him. He shrugged absently…and Pi, vibrating a great deal more, scrambled into his hair and onto his head.
“Pi! That is enough. Tel-si pa-nue-tollah.”
Mick reached up and attempted to pull the creature off, but Pi clung to his hair and it seemed its removal would only be achieved by hair removal. “Ow!” He might hate his hair, but that didn’t mean he was ready to lose it. Getting desperate, he leant over so Nu could reach his ‘best friend’.
“I am sorry, James, I should not have indulged my amusement.”
“Yeah, well, we’ll worry about that once you’ve prevented my scalping.”
The bone-nails at the ends of Nu’s long fingers brushed against his forehead as he attempted to lure Pi from his perch. The Isel emitted a soft purring sound, one that echoed the fine vibrations the kupi was emanating. It took several moments, but finally the creature responded. With a sudden throb of apparent farewell, it leapt off Mick and into Nu’s arms. The alien continued to croon as the kupi wrapped itself around his wrist,
Mick straightened up, an eyebrow climbing at the sight of Pi gently poking at Nu’s face and the alien playfully batting back. There was something innately human in the encounter. A man and his dog. Perhaps some things were universal.
Nu caught him watching and smiled just slightly, but his expression altered suddenly to one Mick was not familiar with. Embarrassment, maybe? He was about to comment, but Nu beat him to it. “I should go. Pi needs some time in its sunroom.”
“Uh, ‘kay.” Mick wasn’t about to admit it, but he looked forward to these informal, and just that little bit illegal, visits. Nu had made a habit of dropping in more and more regularly and Mick suspected it was for more than the poker. “I guess I’ll see you next time then?”
“Certainly.” Nu’s mouth twitched as he looked up at him. “Kris-le-sun, James.”
“Kris-le-sun, Chanu.” Fare you well, you…why am I suddenly suspicious…? But Nu’s form blurred and disappeared.
Mick stared at where the little green alien had been standing for a moment and frowned. On the odd occasion, Mick received the impression that Nu wasn’t just the Ambassador-at-large he claimed to be. He suspected there was a great deal more to the little Isel than he was letting on.
Mick trusted him. There was no doubt there. There was no way Nu would let any harm come to him or this planet. He’d proven that during the ‘Incident’. He sighed a little at the memory and wondered when saving a life had become an ‘incident’.
But there was no use pondering the situation, it was done and passed and there was nothing he could do about it.
Except perhaps lunch. Pi may not eat, but he did. He rubbed absently at his shirt and headed towards his kitchen.
There was a mirror in the hallway and he happened to catch his reflection.
He stopped dead in his tracks.
His shirt. There were holes in his shirt.
Oh. My. God.
“Bloody hell.” He reached up to run his fingers through his hair. What remained of his hair. There were patches missing. Bald spots. Where the somewhat long military cut used to be, there was a mosaic of hair and scalp across the majority of his skull.
He peered closer into the glass, trying his best to see all the damage. What the hell had that thing done? Fine white powder came off on his hands.
Didn’t eat, my ass!
He was going to kill Chanu. Yes, that was what he was going to do. Strangle that skinny little neck of his. Interstellar relations be damned.
He reached for his flash-com.
But the air to his left flickered and blurred, a small package appearing on the floor.
He stared at it a moment. This better be grovelling. Either way, he was still going to kill him. Give the Isel Ambassador a thorough education on hair care and its importance to the human male.
He stalked over and grabbed the package, tearing off the wrap with no care for its extra-terrestrial origin. He knew Nu wasn’t above using those extra sensitive sensors on that damn starship of his to keep an eye on him and he fought the urge to gesture rudely towards the ceiling.
“This better be a bottle of instant hair-gro.” The fact the Isel were hairless was irrelevant.
A shirt and a hat.
He sent a bloody hat.
He shook the cap and a piece of folded filmy material fell to the floor. Isel hardcopy. After staring at it stubbornly for a moment, he reached down to pick it up.
Written by a hand obviously not familiar with the letterforms…
My deepest apologies, I did not realise Pi would find the protein structure of human hair so attractive. As you know, we do not grow such constructs. But I should have considered the possibility.
Fortunately, my staff believe your hair will re-grow at its normal rate. In the meantime, I hope you’ll accept the hat I have provided.
‘Chanu’ was followed by his personal seal.
“Damnit.” He was going to look a right idiot in the meantime. He looked at the cap again.
Something caught his eye and he turned it around.
Written above the brim were English words and symbols.
I [love heart] Pi
He was going to kill him.
(just a little bit of fun)